Why resource-efficient and low carbon cities?

Cities across the globe account for about 2% of the earth’s landmass and host 3.1 billion (51%) of the world’s population. In 1950, only 231 million (17.1%) people lived in urban areas in Asia. It has increased to about 1.8 billion (42%) by 2010. With more than two fifths of the world’s population, Asia now has the largest number of urban dwellers. Cities as units of production and consumption have not only been consuming natural resources, but also degrading the environment through generation of waste and polluting land, water and air. Cities are estimated to contribute 19.8 Gt of CO 2 emissions from energy use in 2006 and by 2030 the amount will increase to about 30.8 Gt.

As engines of economic growth and as centers of innovation, cities can help advance clean energy systems, promote sustainable transportation and waste management. As cities are also vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, they need to take bold actions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. Targeting cities as the first line of action would help countries simultaneously to address resource conservation and to progress towards low carbon societies. Addressing city level issues will help progress climate policy discussions .